NY and NJ lawmakers press Ryan on Gateway project funding

NY and NJ lawmakers press Ryan on Gateway project funding
© Greg Nash

A group of Republican lawmakers from New York and New Jersey met with Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanUnscripted Trump keeps audience guessing in Rose Garden Coulter defends Paul Ryan: This is 100 percent Trump's fault The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Trump escalates border fight with emergency declaration MORE (R-Wis.) on Wednesday to emphasize the importance of a multibillion-dollar rail project the Trump administration has backed away from in recent months.

Rep. Leonard LanceLeonard LanceIncoming Dem lawmaker: Trump 'sympathizes' with leaders 'accused of moral transgressions' On The Money: Why the tax law failed to save the GOP majority | Grassley opts for Finance gavel, setting Graham up for Judiciary | Trump says China eager for trade deal | Facebook reeling after damning NYT report Tax law failed to save GOP majority MORE (R-N.J.) said he asked for the meeting, which comes as a vote on the upcoming omnibus spending bill appears to move to next week. Reps. Pete KingPeter (Pete) Thomas KingGOP lawmaker: Amazon would be moving into NY if Ocasio-Cortez wasn't elected Dems escalate gun fight a year after Parkland Assault weapons ban push tests Dem support MORE (R-N.Y.), Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinFuror over Omar puts spotlight on AIPAC Zeldin slams Omar for 'lack of empathy' in her apology The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine - All eyes on Trump after lawmakers reach spending deal MORE (R-N.Y.), Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.), Chris SmithChristopher (Chris) Henry SmithDems escalate gun fight a year after Parkland House panel advances bill to expand background checks for gun sales Cuomo to meet with Trump over SALT deduction cap MORE (R-N.J.), Tom MacArthurThomas (Tom) Charles MacArthur 10 things we learned from the midterms New Jersey New Members 2019 On The Money: Trump, Senate leaders to huddle on border wall funding | Fed bank regulator walks tightrope on Dodd-Frank | Koch-backed groups blast incentives for corporations after Amazon deal MORE (R-N.J.), Frank LoBiondoFrank Alo LoBiondoLoBiondo launches consulting firm Live coverage: House elects new Speaker as Dems take charge The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — George H.W. Bush lies in state | NRCC suffers major hack | Crunch-time for Congress MORE (R-N.J.) and John FasoJohn James FasoGOP House super PAC targets two freshman Dems with new ads Tax law failed to save GOP majority New York New Members 2019 MORE (R-N.Y.) also participated.

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“The president has indicated that he might veto it,” Lance told reporters. “But Paul Ryan has no problem with Gateway funding.”

The Gateway project, a series of rail programs aimed at rebuilding passenger rail connection under the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey, has been a sticking point in ongoing negotiations over the spending bill ahead of a March 23 deadline.

The White House last week threatened to veto the legislation if it includes $900 million in funding for the project. Meanwhile, the Department of Transportation said it opposes financing Gateway in the impending omnibus, but does not have an issue with the project itself.

Lance told The Hill that it's "unclear" why the president is opposed to funding the project in the omnibus, but said he believes it's part of a "dispute" between Trump and Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerGOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats National emergency declaration — a legal fight Trump is likely to win House Judiciary Dems seek answers over Trump's national emergency declaration MORE (D-N.Y.).

"I think Sen. Schumer should move on some of the appointments the president has made to fill his own administration,” Lance said.

He also argued that a spending bill stripped of Gateway funding won't pass the Senate, where Republicans hold a slim 51-seat majority but will need 60 votes to pass the omnibus.

New York and New Jersey lawmakers have pressed Transportation Secretary Elaine ChaoElaine Lan ChaoTaiwan’s President Tsai should be invited to address Congress White House announces reduced delegation to travel to Davos amid shutdown Hillicon Valley: Dem blasts groups behind Senate campaign disinformation effort | FCC chief declines to give briefing on location-data sales | Ocasio-Cortez tops lawmakers on social media | Trump officials to ease drone rules MORE over the project this month as she appears in front of multiple congressional committees to testify about the Trump administration’s infrastructure proposal.

Chao argues New York and New Jersey should put up more money for the project, which the states hope to fund using government loans like Railroad Rehabilitation & Improvement Financing (RRIF). 

Schumer, Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerKlobuchar, O'Rourke visit Wisconsin as 2020 race heats up Sherrod Brown pushes for Medicare buy-in proposal in place of 'Medicare for all' Harris off to best start among Dems in race, say strategists, donors MORE (D-N.J.), New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) in 2015 announced they had reached a deal with the Obama administration in which the federal government would fund half of the project.

But the Trump administration in recent months has taken a different approach, with the Federal Transit Administration denying the presence of an agreement for the federal government to split the cost with the two states. The Transportation Department also withdrew from the program’s board last summer.

Despite the Trump administration’s pushback on the project's funding, Lance said he “hope[s] and expect[s] that it continues to be in the bill." 

“This was not a meeting with the White House. This was a meeting where we explained our position to Speaker Ryan,” Lance said.